Exeter is a cathedral city that was founded by the Romans in 50 AD. Today, visitors can still see evidence of its medieval and Georgian past, with half-timbered houses, honey-hued sandstone homes and even parts of its original Roman wall. Exeter is also a gateway to the beautifully rugged Dartmoor countryside, as well as long stretches of golden beaches along the south west coast of England. You can go kayaking from the quayside and spend evenings mixing with the town's many students at its lively bars and clubs.
Most hostels in Exeter are clustered in the city centre. Here, you can stay in properties such as a Grade II-listed Georgian building, which is within walking distance of the city's main sights. Extras include free Wi-Fi and self-catering kitchens where you can rustle up your own meals. Some Exeter hostels have private rooms that can fit up to four people: perfect for those travelling in a group. Solo travellers may want to opt for dorms, which are ideal for socialising with fellow guests.
Lined with boutiques and bookstores, Exeter's high street is excellent for shopping. It's also worth exploring its smaller alleys for independent shops and cafés. To the north, the University of Exeter campus is home to the quirky Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, where artefacts include dioramas, celebrity autographs and film magazines. For a taste of the Devon countryside, rent a bike and follow the paths along the canal; you can even cycle all the way to Teignmouth on the coast.
The Gothic-style Exeter Cathedral is known for its soaring vaulted ceilings. Here, visitors can attend evensong (a prayer service), which takes place every evening. Another top attraction is the Exeter Guildhall, which is said to be the oldest municipal building in England still in use today. You can also sign up for a guided tour of the city's stone-hewn underground passages, which date back to medieval times, or marvel at exhibits ranging from zoology to fine art at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.
You can fly to Exeter Airport from other major UK cities and some in Europe. Travellers often choose to fly into London instead; from there, the train from Paddington station takes a little over 2 hours. You can also get to Exeter from other cities in England by rail. The city's main train station is Exeter St David's, a 15-minute walk from the centre. Within the city, it's easy to get around on foot and there's a good bus network for longer journeys.